Sharon Isaac 


Banjo Song

The Old Banjo
was in its place
in the front room
behind Mammie’s threadbare couch
safe from where we children would never ever
dare to touch
but the temptation was extraordinary.

While cooking in the kitchen Mammie couldn’t see us.
We lay on the cold, bare floor
and beheld and admired 
and yearned to touch,
arms and fingers stretching, 
imagining the feel, the vibration,
But never did we
cross that forbidden line.

Time happens and people pass.
Mammie took the bus to another world,
The Old Banjo moved to Uncle Basil’s house.
I grew older and I found a banjo muse:
Let me take that old banjo.
“No” was all he ever said.
I often visited The Old Banjo 
and I let it ring and I let it sing.

Time happens and people pass.
Uncle Basil took the bus to another world.
Then a strange thing happened:
Aunt Hilda cut down all his trees in the front yard
and gave away his little black dog.
Then Aunt Hilda put The Old Banjo on my knee
and I let it ring and I let it sing.


Sharon Isaac’s past roles in life have included nurse, geologist, computer scientist, sailor, clogger, banjo picker, expatriate wife, farmers’ daughter, volunteer, square dancer, waitress, sales clerk, student, teacher and author.  She was born in Appalachia and has had a life-long love affair with the mountains ever since.  She presently lives in Austin, Texas.


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